In praise of the chip

There is something so extraordinary about potato hitting sizzling fat. To me its a food wonder of the world.

In the UK, fish and chips became a popular cheap food among the working classes with the development of trawl fishing in the North Sea in the 1860’s. The first fish and chip shop was opened in London by Jewish proprietor Joseph Malin who bought together fish fried in the Jewish fashion” with chips. The British usually serve thicker slabs of potato than the french fries popularised by major multinational U.S. hamburger chains, resulting in a lower fat content per portion. Cooking fat penetrates a relatively shallow depth into the potato during cooking, thus the surface area reflects the fat content proportionally. Thick chips have a smaller surface area per unit weight than French fries and thus absorb less oil per weight of potato. Chips also require a somewhat longer cooking time than fries.

Most of the fish and chip outlets in Eastbourne serve thick chips, its only McDonalds, KFC and Burger King that serve the thin high fat french fries. Why am I banging on about chips on a friday afternoon? Well I’m not overly enthusiastic about the phrase government crackdown on fish and chip shops. Government crackdown on crime perhaps. The government should be targeting the multinational companies not the independants. Making a chip slightly larger is not going to get anywhere near bringing down heart disease and the obesity epidemic. As usual, targeted crackdowns in the wrong areas. Leave fish and chips alone – to us British they are like a nice cup of tea – the food backbone of our nation!

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